4 Historic NBA teams the Bulls have completely devastated

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)
Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage) /
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The title of this article may say “completely devastated”, but that may actually be an understatement here. Although the Chicago Bulls have not been able to consistently field competitive rosters throughout their franchise history, when they’ve hit their peaks, they’ve looked nearly unbeatable.

These teams in this article weren’t just beaten, or humiliated, they were set back so far with a loss to the Bulls that it would change the long-term direction of their entire franchise. In some cases, these teams lost more than a decade of progress just trying to pick up the pieces left by the Bulls.

Although Detroit had the upper hand early, the Bulls would eventually usurp the Pistons as top dogs in the Eastern Conference.

1. Detroit Pistons

We start things off here with one of the sweeter victories for Bulls fans. Unlike several of their 90s rivals who tried to get one-up and over the Bulls, but could never do it, the Detroit Pistons were a much tougher challenge.

They were the Bulls’ neighbors from up north and were even led by a Chicago native in Isiah Thomas. Later on, they’d even acquire another Chicago native Mark Aguirre. Pistons were mentally tough, deep, and greatly coached, there’s no denying that. I won’t go deep into detail about those battles because they’re well documented. What’s interesting, is what happened after Chicago swept them in the playoffs.

In the 1991 offseason, the Pistons core began to crumble. Vinnie Johnson was let go, and James Edwards was traded to the Clippers for former Bull Orlando Wooldridge and Darryl Walker. Before the 1992 season, they were projected to finish 11th in the conference, and they struggled that season. Although they won 48 games, their family atmosphere, according to Bill Laimbeer, was destroyed. In the end, they lost their first-round series vs the Knicks.

A couple of days later, Chuck Daly resigned as their head coach. Jack McCloskey, Pistons general manager left for Minnesota. Before the 1993 season, John Salley got traded to Miami. Later Dennis Rodman got traded for Sean Elliot. And early in the 1994 season, Bill Laimbeer retired. To top it off, Isiah Thomas tore his Achilles, an injury that would ultimately end his career.

After their loss to the Bulls, the Pistons went downhill fast. They wouldn’t become truly relevant again until 2003 when they made conference finals, 12 years later after Chicago beat them into submission.